Ava was making a shopping list for me over Christmas break and so I was spelling out lots of words for her one letter at a time. She was making mistake after mistake, and it was surprising because she knows her letters very well. When it dawned on me that she wasn’t hearing me well enough to tell the difference between an “e” and a “d”, I figured I was opening another chapter in Ava’s medical story.
I first conferred with her speech therapist, then went to her primary doctor to get a referral to an ENT. At the local clinic visit to get the referral, the lady checking us in took her height, weight and blood pressure and then quickly left so I went searching down the hall for someone to give Ava a hearing test (I think sometimes doctors and nurses cringe when they see a mom with lots of medical experience…she will never leave until all her questions are answered, and she will certainly get what she came for!).
Ava failed her hearing test on both sides, had a bunch of earwax flushed out (she is a professional Ear Wax Maker), failed the tests again, flushed even more ear wax out and then failed a final time. So, today (12 days later) we went to Sioux Falls for our visit with Dr. Kashnica.
It started with audiology and fancier equipment with the the same results…neither eardrum vibrating like it needs to in order to have her hear at a normal decibel level.
Then, we met with Dr. Kashnica and he told us before even examining her that she needs ear tubes and her adenoids removed. One thing I have learned as Ava’s mom is that specialists are very opinionated and very confident. They just are.
He explained that her adenoids must be blocking her natural drainage system so he needs to poke a tiny hole in her eardrum, and put a little stent in (called a tube) to keep it draining. That takes him about 5 minutes. Then, he needs to remove her adenoids which aren’t thought to have much function anyway past the age of 6 or 7. That takes another 5 minutes. That’s the entire surgery. Then, he checks on the tubes every 3 months until they fall out, at which point her eardrum should be back to draining itself because the adenoids aren’t in the way anymore. It’s a super common procedure.
It is a dream to me that Ava’s speech may improve bunches by having this simple surgery. I’m not getting my hopes up too much because a lot of her issues seem to be more in motor planning and getting her tongue where it needs to be.
It makes me feel kinda rotten wondering how long this fluid has been there, but it is what it is. In any case, I think we are headed down a good road. I had read some about never damage and needing hearing aids and I’m so thankful that isn’t the route we are on.
I am so appreciative for your prayers and support. Thankfully, Joe took the day away from the farm so he could help wrestle Violet and get the information first-hand about Ava’s hearing. Surgery is hopefully scheduled in 3 weeks if I can get everything lined up.
Ava’s progress with her arm has been HUGE. We have noticed her coming up with adaptations on her own and finding ways to make it work. That’s what it is going to be all about! She thought we all needed straws at supper the other night, so she placed the box between her forearm and tummy and held it tightly, so she could pick straws out one at a time with her other hand.
In general, her nerves are definitely still growing and making new connections. If we remove her brace, she can bend her wrist inward and that motion gets stronger every time we work on it. We are waiting and waiting on her fingers but we haven’t given up.
A few days ago, I was using a vibrating tool we had gotten from occupational therapy. Rubbing it around on her affected hand. The idea is to provide sensation so the brain is remembering that her hand is still there. When I asked her how it feels, she said it tickles ON THE OTHER SIDE. That’s just weird and we laughed and laughed about it with her. Hopefully, her brain can soon sort out the difference between what her C7 nerve used to operate and what it does now, post-surgery.
I think sometimes I get to be Ava’s mom because God knows I love to learn, love to research, and love to encourage. Life is always two steps forward and one step back. Enjoy the dance!